“Curiosity killed the cat, but satisfaction brought it back,” goes the old saying. Cats are known for being highly curious, always investigating things in their environment. There are cats who live primarily indoors and others who spend their days chasing birds and basking in the sun beams outside, but all display similar reactions to new and old situations they come across.
To be curious, or inquisitive, is the natural state of a feline. The word inquisitive means to show an interest in learning things, to be curious, or to pry by being overly curious. The English word inquisitive comes from the Latin inquirere which became inquisitivus in later iterations of the Latin language. The word then co-evolved into French and English, or inquisitive and inquire, respectively.
The word inquisitive relates to the word inquiry, which means to question or investigate. Cats are naturally investigative, whether that means chasing a rogue piece of string or an elusive mouse underneath the house. In this case the kitten is inquisitive (and a bit frightened!) of the reptiles around it. In all likelihood the kitten would never have seen a lizard or possibly any other species of animal in its life; everything is new, exciting, and a bit surprising.
Housecats aren’t the only members of the feline family to have a reputation for being curious. Lions, tigers, leopards, and other wild felines show their inquisitive natures in the wild and where they have been placed in captivity.
The old joke about cats having nine lives isn’t technically correct, but anyone who has owned a cat knows the close calls and scrapes they are liable to get into due to their inquisitive characters. Cats poke their noses into plants, get uncomfortably close to edges of buildings and roofs, and are liable to jump very high in any direction if startled or taken by surprise.
Their quick reflexes may be what fostered the cat’s curious nature all this time. With the ability to move quickly out of the way of danger, cats can follow their inquisitive natures wherever they may take them. The lizard’s twitching tail looked like a good plaything for the kitten, but once the other lizard crept into the corner of the cat’s eye it was taken by surprise and wasn’t so inquisitive about the reptiles any longer!
Having an inquisitive nature allows cats and other animals to learn about the world around them through investigation. Without a curious nature, few things would be learned about the world around us.